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Another "oh you're a good guy" story.....

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by Dogplow Dodge, Jan 30, 2016.

  1. Dogplow Dodge

    Dogplow Dodge 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,924

    So, good guys finish last... yes, but not always.


    I get a call on Monday regarding clearing a driveway of a residential home on a heavily traveled road nearby. The woman on the phone says she's the sister in law of the homeowner, and that she's been given the responsibility of finding a snow plowing contractor for the driveway at her sister and brother in laws house. I happen to have a long term customer doctor that I've been working for for about 5 years, and they gave her my number.

    So the conversation starts as normal, asking what the situation is, and where is the house. I was not far from the house at the time, as another snow plowing contractor who had some issues with his vehicle referred me to a couple of his customers, whom I was clearing snow for at the time. Since I was all rested up from the storm itself, I had the time to go look at this driveway. It was actually on my way home, as I had to get back to let to dogs out to pee, as the old girl can't hold it as long as she used to.

    I stop by the SIL's house, and take a good look. The road is a main thoroughfare through the area, and the road had a 3 1/2 foot tall windrow in front of it. Under the windrow, was a sidewalk which ran along the street. The property width was approximately 350 feet wide, and that sidewalk was completely buried deeper than the height of my snow blower, as well as the entrance to the driveway. Now that it had begun to warm up here, then get cold again, it was beginning to freeze the slush cover over the top of the windrow, and I told her what I thought needed to be done.

    She told me that the house had a belgium block edging on the driveway. The contractor who was supposed to plow the drive for the storm, just never showed up. Since my experience with this type of situation was that my dodge would not be able to plow this area out without some sort of place to push the 20" of snow in the driveway, plus the entrance and walks into, that I wasn't the right candidate for the storm. I told her to call around and find a contractor who had a machine which could dig out and lift the snow onto the property sides of the driveway. Since this road is a 35+ MPH and super busy road, I had almost no chance of pushing the snow around with all that I was up against. Again, I passed on it, and ended the conversation with her on a "I wish you the best" note.

    I'm halfway home (10 minutes), and my phone rings again. She asked me if I had any chance of doing the job, as she didn't find anyone who would do the job for them in such short notice. I reminded her of the difficulties, and said that if I was to take this on, that I would most likely be there for 3 or 4 hours with my snow blower, and that I would be way too expensive for her to realistically hire me. Again, I suggested to find another contractor.

    She asked me to reconsider. She said that her SIL and BIL were up north, and he was having some sort of cancer surgery he was going through, to think if I could do it, how much it would cost. She also said that there were cats in the house that they were tending to, and that they had no way of getting into the house to feed or care for them. I told her that since she was doing this for the kitty cats, that I'd take $100 off the price of the job, although I restated to her that I would charge her what my estimated time would be, and it would be very high. She again asked how much and I told her that high number, expecting her to say no. Instead she said that it was acceptable and I was to do the work. We agreed to meet back an hour later across the street from the house, and that's what I did.

    She and her husband were there when I returned to the house, in a super expensive european car, which had no bearing on the cost, as I had no idea where they were from, or what their financial situation was, nor would it have mattered anyway. I just wanted my hourly rate, and that was it. I realized that they had the means to pay my rate, and after a few minutes of discussion, I was handed a check for the amount I wanted and the associated sales tax. I told them that I would call them back once I was done, and that they could go help the kitties in the morning. THey were very happy that I reconsidered, and went on their way.

    I proceeded to spend the next 2.5 hours using my snow blower to clear out a good portion of the driveway, and I cleared the sidewalks so that the kids could pass for the next day's school session. I originally thought it would take 3 hours, but I guess I'm much faster than I thought I was:eek:

    I called her back and said that I finished the job, and that the next day they could access the driveway, and save their starving kitties. She was so happy, and thanked me like no tomorrow. I stopped her from hanging up on me (saying goodbye) and I asked. "where would you like the refund check sent ? ".

    Silence fell upon the phone. She said "What ? ..... What did you say ? "

    I repeated what I said and added.... " I finished a bit early, and you're due a credit or refund of the time I didn't spend doing the job. I can either give you a credit towards future snow clearing or send you a check back. It's your choice, so which would you like ? "

    she sat silent for a moment, then started yelling for her husband. "He's sending us some of our money back .... I know, I can't believe it either ".

    She got back on the phone and said " You can send me a check, and here's my address. No contractor, I mean NO ONE has EVER sent me a check back for anything EVER !! I can't believe you actually are doing this for us. "

    I asked her to text me the address, and mentioned not to go onto the driveway until the next afternoon, as it was icing up from the cold air moving back in. She blessed me, said all kind of wonderful stuff, and I went about my way...

    Fast forwards to tonight. I sent her the check out the next day, and tonight I sent her pictures of my dogs sleeping on their doggie bed. We took them for a nice walk today, and the were "dog tired". She replied back how cute, and said that both her SIL and BIL were so grateful for what I did, and would like to talk to me about plowing their driveway for all future storms, and could they call me to discuss ? She confirmed receipt of the refund, and again said how happy she was with all that I had done for her SIL and BIL.

    I told her to have them call me this week, as I'd like to place driveway markers and go over the specifics of the job such as pricing, frequency, etc. She was so happy, and again blessed me , and said that she / they couldn't be happier with all that I had done.

    So I guess I have a new customer whether or not I wanted one, eh ?:eek:

    Sweet people. This is they type of customers I search for, and am very glad to dump the other ones I have trouble with. I figure, if I do this long enough, and find the "good customers" and dump the "bad customers", eventually, I'll be much more satisfied doing what I like to do already...Thumbs Up
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2016
  2. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 8,476

    Can I get the cliff notes?
     
  3. Dogplow Dodge

    Dogplow Dodge 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,924

    The printer won't have them ready until Monday...

    Sorry, Chuckles.....:p
     
  4. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    I'll wait for the mini series
     
  5. Dogplow Dodge

    Dogplow Dodge 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,924

    Or, you can print it and go sit at Timmies collecting all that "seasonal money" and read it.

    :D
     
  6. johnnywaz

    johnnywaz Senior Member
    Messages: 206

    Nice story, thanks for sharing.
     
  7. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    I'll let shovel monkey read it to me.
     
  8. BUFF

    BUFF PlowSite Fanatic
    from FR NoCo
    Messages: 7,231

    They're just cats.....:rolleyes::rolleyes:

    You must have a shortage of good karma in stock or you have a lot of catching up to do due to being a rascal in you younger day.
     
  9. JustJeff

    JustJeff 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,025

    Good story, and you tell a story well. You should do it more often. I think we get more out of doing charity than the person that actually receives it.
     
  10. Dogplow Dodge

    Dogplow Dodge 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,924

    Did you hire one of Unique's shovelers ?
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2016
  11. Dogplow Dodge

    Dogplow Dodge 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,924

    I actually charged a good amount. I don't think I overcharged, although depending on where you live, you might think so. I just know that I can go make $XXX.00 per hour by plowing snow elsewhere, and if they want me there it's going to be $XXX.00 per hour for me to stay there. Since I did it faster than expected, I just thought it was fair to return some of the money.

    I could have easily said... It's done... thank you.... and been out of there, but I figured, a partial refund, no matter how small of a gesture I might think it is, could show them that I was serious as to the time spent, and the difficulty associated with it. I also didn't want them telling their friends that I was overpriced, if that's actually what they thought. I just wanted them to know I was trying my best to be fair to all involved.
     
  12. Dogplow Dodge

    Dogplow Dodge 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,924

    BTW,

    Wife took a photo of me on Tuesday morning before heading out to work. Man, did I look beat or what ?????
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2016
  13. Dogplow Dodge

    Dogplow Dodge 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,924

    I owe it all to my late mother. She was a brilliant writer, but never really pushed herself, or took advantage of the natural talent she had. If folks would focus on what they can do very well, and not what they wish they could do, but never would be able to, we'd have a lot more burger flippers out there.

    ;)
     
  14. BUFF

    BUFF PlowSite Fanatic
    from FR NoCo
    Messages: 7,231

    When I quote work and don't make margin / lose money I don't go looking for more so why would I give oot a refund if my margin was higher than I anticipated. The winners make up for the losers.
    In the same scenario as what you described given the opportunity to bid on it the cost would be at market value.
     
  15. Dogplow Dodge

    Dogplow Dodge 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,924

    The picture above should explain...

    I did very well during this storm. I guess I'm a sap for cat stories, and obviously have been eating way too many with my morning cereal
     
  16. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 8,476

    I read someplace just the other day,
    What was it?
    Ho,Ya somthing to aboot money and a bank account,
    And somthing like it's all aboot making money etc etc,
    Not Turing down money.....

    Somthing along thoes lines......
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2016
  17. iceyman

    iceyman 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,537

    You lost me at refund
     
  18. BUFF

    BUFF PlowSite Fanatic
    from FR NoCo
    Messages: 7,231

    If I'm not mistaken this is the place you're referring to,
    http://www.plowsite.com/showpost.php?p=2103930&postcount=8

    I don't do very many cold calls during a storm and don't do flag downs.
    The only cold calls during a storm I'll do are through referrals.
    The pics in the link look like you used your blower to get through the windrow at the apron and to also find the edges of the driveway.
    Once you "opened" things up did you plow of continue to blow?
    Also you couldn't picked a way at the windrow at the apron with your plow, the shoulder seems to be wide and visibility on either side doesn't appear to be an issue.
    When I do a cold call I'll ask the HO to walk the perimeter of the area to be plowed, I'll also look at the property on Find Lot Size to an idea of what the property looks like and get the size of it. If the HO isn't home or able to walk the perimeter I'll do it.
     
  19. FredG

    FredG 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,211

    Good Story, I'm sure you were at a premium as you informed the clients that it will take a lot of money to perform services as you were not equipped with a bucket and your assessment of drive the bucket would be faster and cheaper.

    Obviously they were not concerned with the bucket nor other contractor. They were only concerned with the referral from your DR client. If you over estimated your time there and choose to give a refund good for you. I do understand the fact about picking up the extra from the ones you were over on time and this was a lot of snow. Never the less it is your decision not ours. You scored the job. Trust me I'm not going to take any flag downs and you have to be careful with the blowhards looking for the cheapest still worked out for you.
     
  20. Dogplow Dodge

    Dogplow Dodge 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,924

    See picture below. the answer would be YES. I was in a rhythm, and it didn't take significantly longer to finish with the blower. Pic below shows the mess after I finished with the heavy stuff, then I scraped it clean with the blade which took less than a couple minutes.

    Why ? The 15" of snow had 3 - 4 inches of slush under it (too much time passed between the ending of the storm, and me being there). I wanted to get that slush out and off the drive so that the next time I plowed (if there was to be a next time) I didn't have giant piles of slush extending 15 feet out into the parking area.

    There is a shoulder on the road, but it's only about 15 inches wide, and was 3' under snow. The road is a "high use" road, and no one would bow to me if I tried to push snow around out there, so I used the blower to move most of it onto the adjoining lawns
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2016